Amour

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Even with a title like Amour (Love), you can expect that Michael Haneke has a divisive trick up his sleeve. Yet the famously antagonizing writer-director has made his most tender film to date, a story about an active elderly couple, Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), whose lives are upended when Anne has a stroke. Amour is an unblinking look at the pressures of being a caregiver as well as the heartbreaking realities the infirm elderly face as they near death. Dignity—or indignity, as the case may be—is a prominent theme, too: Who in their right mind would want to go on living as Anne does? Trintignant and Riva are tremendous in their roles, with the nearly 86-year-old Riva gathering most of the accolades. Neither Haneke nor Riva do anything to soften Anne’s state, and much of the film is difficult to watch; an unexpected turn of events in the last chapter will be understood by some but despised by many, but at least it’s not a melodramatic yawn. (TO)

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